It’s not polite to brag, and it’s certainly impolite for the head of the city’s police officers union to brag about how little his union gave up during negotiations to settle the city’s budget deficit, balanced as it was on labor’s backs.
But that’s what Police Officers Association president Gary Delagnes is doing — in print, no less.
As layoffs, salary cuts and freezes and other “givebacks” from labor unions balanced San Francisco’s $483 million budget deficit, cops’ salaries will steadily increase, going up by 6.5 percent over the next 18 months, Delagnes wrote in the July issue of the POA Journal.
“The reality is, we have managed to hold onto a 9% raise over the next 18 months while making only 2.5 % in concessions,” wrote Delagnes, addressing police officers unhappy with the cops’ budget deal. “A net gain of 6.5 % over the next 18 months at a time when cities like Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego are GIVING BACK [Delagnes’s emphasis] anywhere from 8 to 15 %.”
Delagnes is known to be neither quiet nor politic, but given the audience of the POA Journal — half of his “President’s Message” is concerned with the 530 officers who voted against ratifying the budget deal (to 946 in favor), at least one of whom, an unnamed Mission Station officer, was so incensed as to send Delagnes an anonymous e-mail calling him a “liar” who “sold us upriver” — his statements are probably intended to sound more soothing than boastful.
But in the context of Thursday’s budget signing “celebration,” when Mayor Gavin Newsom thanked labor again and again for giving up jobs and benefits so that the city could save $250 million over two years, those words ring a little differently.
Not in Delagnes’s view. “My people are police officers — they’re not painters, plumbers or carpenters,” he told the Appeal on Friday. “Comparing police officers to other trades is ridiculous.”
“We signed a contract with the city four years ago, and three out of four of those years the city has come back to us for concessions, and every year we’ve made concessions,’ he added. But the times of concessions are over — Delagnes told the Appeal that he will under no circumstances open up the contract again. “The city signed a contract — it’s their job to honor it. It’s not our job to solve their budget crisis because they can’t handle their money.”
In the meantime, the progressive narrative in which the city’s public safety unions — the POA and Firefighters’ Local 798 — appear to give back the least continues. No cops and firefighters have been laid off, and in fact their payrolls have increased; how much longer can the city — which faces another giant deficit next year — keep this up?
“When looking at Delagnes’s boasts in the POA Journal, it appears the labor givebacks have not been applied equally or proportionately,” said Supervisor John Avalos, chairman of the Board of Supervisors’s Budget and Finance Committee.
“POA member salaries are much higher than salaries of most other city employees, employees who will not be able to brag about a 6.5 % raise over the next 18 months.”